With consumer confidence struggling to get back on its feet in this post-pandemic world, it’s more important than ever to examine how shoppers find, choose and interact with retailers, says Reputation.com’s Anthony Gaskell.
The customer journey is an ever-evolving process. Anyone who has watched Mad Men will know the influence that print advertising used to have back in the late 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s. This was followed by the rise in radio ads, then television and latterly the internet.
Until recently, the customer journey followed a similar pattern where people came across a product or service – usually through marketing – and if they liked what they saw, they bought it. Of course, word of mouth played some part, but on the whole company marketing was the biggest influencing factor.
Fast forward to 2020 and thanks to smartphones today’s consumers are more educated than ever before. They’ve done their research on a product or service before they come within arm’s reach of a retailer. Marketing plays some part, but it is typically more of an awareness exercise than promotional.
The Covid effect
The switch to digital-first advertising was already well under way before the pandemic struck.
Brands across various sectors including retail had been embracing digital advertising across PPC [pay per click] and social media, as well as new forms of advertising such as influencers, for some time.
However, as we entered lockdown and high street footfall dropped to almost zero overnight, physical ‘shop windows’ became of no use and instead it was the online shop window that had the most impact.
As we entered lockdown and high street footfall dropped to almost zero overnight, physical ‘shop windows’ became of no use and instead it was the online shop window that had the most impact
When searching online, Google is the first port of call for many. Shoppers no longer head directly to a retailer’s website, but are instead introduced via its Google My Business (GMB) profile.
What a consumer sees here can be a deciding factor in whether or not they visit that store, or if they continue their search and opt for a competitor.
As part of Retail Week’s Consumer 2021 week, Reputation.com will host a panel discussion to talk about ‘2020 Consumer Trends Here to Stay’. One of the key topics up for discussion will be the changing trends of how people find, choose and interact with retailers.
Reputation experience management
The concept of reputation experience management (RXM) has been gaining traction recently as brands come to realise the value of a strong online presence.
Retailers have a wealth of information about their customers available to them, especially when it comes to online buying and browsing habits. Whether it’s through AI or a software solution (or both), retailers can gain operational insight into consumer behaviours and use this information to influence their strategy.
Retailers can gain operational insight into consumer behaviours and use this information to influence their strategy
This information can be utilised to delve into what customers are saying about a retailer, its products, stores and the overall purchase experience.
Those who want to be on the front foot as we move into the Golden Quarter can analyse customer sentiment online through reviews and social media, and gain a greater understanding of what shoppers want.
Armed with this information retailers can strengthen their customer experience, boost operations and keep customers coming back.
Anthony Gaskell is managing director EMEA at Reputation.com
Learn More at Transform’20 Europe
If you’d like to learn more, Reputation.com is hosting a free-to-attend virtual event Transform’20 Europe on October 6. You’ll gain invaluable insight into how you can get found and chosen online, and make targeted improvements to your customers’ experience that drive revenue.
Speakers include GAME, Google, Kwik Fit, Renault and more. To register for free click here.